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Kopco releases "virtual" country music album

Paul Dennis Kopco, who teaches computer graphics, desktop publishing, multimedia, and web design at Black Hills State University, has released a "virtual" album of original country music on the internet entitled Badlands.

"What makes this all possible is a music format called MP3," said Kopco. "It's a way to compress CD-quality music so that it can be transmitted over the internet."

Kopco's albums, conventional and "virtual," are available at <http://www.MP3.com/pauldennis> .Other websites featuring his music can be accessed from his own Dakotah Records website at http://www.blackhills.com/dakotah/records

"Being involved with computer-based media and the internet on both professional and personal levels, I wanted to be among the early adopters of this technology," said Kopco, "for the benefit of my music as well as my students."

The MP3 music format began a music distribution revolution on the internet. Newly recorded music, as well as music previously recorded on CDs, can be converted to the format and freely transmitted, downloaded, copied, and played on computers with playback software. Major record labels are hesitating to release the music of established artists until a method can be developed to prevent unauthorized copying of their songs.

However, the MP3 revolution is a boon to independent artists looking to promote their music to millions of internet users worldwide.

Kopco, who uses his middle name - Paul Dennis - for his music because, he says, "it's easier to pronounce," was already promoting his instrumental new age album, Black Hills Gold, on the internet by transmitting, or uploading, the individual tunes in MP3 format for sale to music consumers, when he decided to upload some original country music songs he had recorded as well.

Some websites sell conventional CDs if the artist or band has produced them and made them available to the website, with the MP3-format tunes acting as previews only. However, other websites, such as <ahref=<http://www.mp3.com/pauldennis>>MP3.com</a> where Kopco's music is available, will generate recordable CDs on demand containing the desired music.

In the case of MP3.com, the music is recorded both in conventional audio format for playback in ordinary CD players, and computer-playable MP3 format.

"With the advent of recordable CD technology and MP3 websites, an artist or band no longer has to undergo the expense of producing a conventional CD - one is generated on demand whenever ordered by a music consumer," Kopco explained. He named his "virtual" country music album - Badlands - and designed and uploaded cover art based on a picture he took himself while visiting the Badlands of South Dakota.

As a result, country music fans can now order his Badlands album from MP3.com after previewing a number of tunes, which can be individually downloaded and played freely. Even though his Black Hills Gold CD is an existing product, available locally in many outlets and at CDNOW on the internet, it will also be "re-produced" on a recordable CD if ordered from MP3.com, with the added advantage of containing computer-playable versions of the music as well.

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